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Roller Skates Buyers Guide

We're here for you. Roller skating can be perplexing if you're a newbie and just want to buy general use, recreational skates. If you're a video person, then click play below and Peggy and Lemon will take you through some of the most common questions we get asked in an easy to digest attention-span friendly format!

For even more detail, then read on for our full roller skates buyers guide...


Lemon gives us a 2 minute guide to buying roller skates for the first time (womens):

Peggy gives us a run-down of the main things to consider when looking for skates for general, recreational use (womens): 

If you just want skates for general use...

Almost all the skates you see on our website are suitable for general recreational use. A tip though; by far the most popular style at the moment for women is what we are calling 'Vintage Style' skates. These are the ones which have a shape and look like this:

Vintage Style roller skates

They have a lace-up boot to the top of the ankle and a raised heel of approx 1 inch. The boot material is often suede or vinyl.

Men's buying trends are spread more evenly across different styles of skates (but also includes unisex vintage style models). Read a little further down for our tips.


Why 'vintage style' skates are so popular...

Marketing has been kind to this style of skate. The most prominent female influencers of the last few years have been wearing roller skate boots of this shape. Michelle Steilen, Amy West, Oumi Janta, Marawa Wamp, Ana Coto and other respected names all use this style of skate as their main ride.

There's also a lot of focus on style with these skate models with design-led brands like Moxi and Impala producing beautiful skates, the choice you get with vintage style boots is just much wider.

It's not just a trend though, there are technical reasons for their popularity too. One is that the raised heel acts to spread the users' weight more evenly across the foot (if you don't raise the heel then naturally almost all your weight is on your heel). The forward tilt also reduces the chance of a backwards fall which is the most common way to tumble when using quad skates.

The ankle cuff height on the Vintage style roller skates is popular largely due to aesthetics, it's a classic 70's style, but additionally, it's nice to have a boot laced to above the ankle for that extra feeling of support and security.


So wait, you're saying I should just buy this 'Vintage style' then?

Hmmm, well it really is an individual preference thing. We're just saying that for general use and dance skating (popular too right now) 90% of female users are buying these. So in the name of not making things too complicated we're generally pointing people in that direction. Again, if there's something else that you simply prefer the look of then, there is definitely nothing wrong in choosing that skate instead. But if you're stuck (and female), go Vintage style.



What are the best skates for Men though?

Men get a raw deal when it comes to the variety of choice. That's not to say you don't have some really amazing skates to choose from... just less colours/designs. Almost all the skates we sell which come in mens sizes are suited to general-use skating and all styles have a relatively equal level of popularity across male users. We find many buy Vintage Style/Raised Heel for dance and Rhythm skating, low-ankle flat foot-position skates for the roller-disco or rink and hardboot skates for outdoor. There really is no hard and fast rules though and you can cross-over as you please, many will just buy the skate they like the look of best and that's fine!

  Disco skatesHad boot roller skates



How much do I need to spend on skates? What am I getting for my money?

In the past we've often earmarked £80 / €90 / $105 as the least you should spend on an adult skate, but more recently some brands are pushing their limits with entry-level models starting from around £55 / €60 / $70 which are pretty decent options. Of course, the more you spend, the better you get, but as a specialist store we never stock anything non-functional. Just be careful of cheap skates from non-specialist retailers as most of the time they have wheels with a substandard compound and semi-precision bearings which simply don't work very well for skating!


What Brands/Models of skates are best?
Different brands serve different purposes. Here's a simplified breakdown:

Best Budget Brands: Impala, SFR, RIo Roller, Playlife, Rookie, Candi Girl, Chaya ('Melrose Deluxe' models), Moxi (Rainbow Roller models), Ventro 
Most design conscious: Impala, Moxi, Chaya
Most Premium: Moxi (Lolly Models), Chaya ('Melrose Premium' models)
Notable mid-range Skates: Chaya (Melrose Elite Models), Moxi (Beach Bunny Models)
Most Support: Chaya, Roces (hardboot), Supreme (hardboot), Ventro (hardboot)
Most comfort: Moxi (Lolly models)


Is there a difference between Indoor and Outdoor skates?
The only thing that really defines whether a skate is 'indoor' or 'outdoor' is the wheels, and they can be easily changed. By default most skates come off the shelf with a generic wheel which is completely suitable for all surfaces. In the world of quad skates a hard wheel will be faster on a smooth service (like an indoor rink or a decent skatepark) and a soft wheel will make rougher surfaces (like outdoor pavements) more forgiving. A soft/medium wheel is best for generic all-round use as it will function with no problems on all surfaces whereas a hard wheel will struggle if it's is used on rough surfaces. For this reason most skates come with stock wheels which are relatively soft.

Do you need to do maintenance on skates?
Not much. It's probably a decent idea to check your bolts aren't loose every few times you skate. Pay particular attention to wheel nuts and kingpins (the bolt going vertically up into your trucks). The wheels on a quad style roller skate are wide so they don't wear down all that quickly so the main deteriorating item is likely to be the bearings (metal part, found inside the wheels). You can wipe them down with dry tissue to remove grit and grime build up. Although many people purport to oiling/greasing them, this probably isn't the best idea because that oil acts much like an adhesive for more grit and grime. Bearings are relatively cheap so if your current set aren't performing then the best bet is usually just to pick up some new ones. Your bushings and pivot cups (rubber bits in your trucks) might also crumble after a while but this really is a once-in-a-few-years kind of episode. For the most part you won't have to work to hard to keep your skates running.

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